HD-DVD playback and PowerDVD version

Discussion in 'AnyDVD HD (Blu-ray issues)' started by YaniD, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. YaniD

    YaniD Well-Known Member

    I have been using PowerDVD 7.3.2911 as my preferred player, since it is the last version that allows playback from HDD and acceleration selection (and software decoding gives me better quality under XP). However, I have implemented version switching as suggested on this forum to handle the growing number of titles that won't play properly with v2911, but it is not optimal with v3516.

    One of these titles is the Japanese version of Harry Potter Order Of The Phoenix.

    It plays fine from disc or ISO with v3516 and AnyDVD, but PowerDVD closes with v2911 after the WB intro and before the feature start. I think there is a "black" segment that is played which results in the termination of playback. The curious thing is that maybe once out of every 5 attempts, v2911 will continue on to play the feature, but then crash after a few minutes.

    I have tried all the settings in AnyDVD HD, but none of them will permit playback consistently with v2911 (whether disc or ISO).

    I have resorted to editing the .XPL file and discovered that by removing everything but the feature and removing superfluous soundtracks and all subtitles, I can play the feature in v2911 perfectly fine.

    I haven't yet attempted to create a version of the .XPL with IME enabled.

    My question is: what could be causing the difference in playback behaviour between v2911 and v3516 and is this something AnyDVD HD can help with?

    I would much prefer to use v2911 for all titles as it gives me control over hardware acceleration and this is important to me.

    Obviously it is not the actual video content that is the issue as I can play the feature fine in both versions, so it must be these additional navigation files. However, navigation files exist on other titles too, which play perfectly fine in v2911.

    I'm sure it is something added to the authoring to force continual upgrade of players and consequently enable removal of features that give too much control, to the end user, but hopefully someone can find a workaround.

    Exactly why did Cyberlink force hardware acceleration for versions newer than v2911 anyway? There doesn't seem to be a reason to remove functionality that on the surface has nothing to do with DRM (or does it?).
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  2. mobileh264

    mobileh264 Active Member

    I am having the same issue with you regarding hardware acceleration being forced in PowerDVD versions later than 2911. For reasons I will not bore this forum with, DxVA is not an option for me either.

    What could be an option for you however, if you have an 8 series Nvidia card is to use legacy drivers which do not support DxVA on XP. That way PowerDVD will not be able to force DxVA.

    As for why Cyberlink are now forcing hardware acceleration, even though they leave the check-box tantalisingly in the menu, search me.

    Does anyone know a good way of disabling DxVA on XP, regardless of PowerDVD setting? Someone must have a registry or driver hack for this.

    I am planning a ticket to Cyberlink, and this problem will feature in it, among others.

    My main other issue is the removal of Hard disk based HD playback in later patches. This I believe breaks the contract of sale, as this feature is specifically listed in the readme file which pops up after installing the base version of PDVD 7.3. This is not just HD-DVD and BLU-ray contents mind you, any file with HD contents, even .mp4 that I made myself is blocked.

    DxVA is not mentioned in the readme, but it is a configurable feature on the base release, so should not have be turned off in subsequent versions unless it specifically conflicts with other new features (and I don't believe for a minute that it could, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with encryption. No movie studio is going to care whether your CPU or GPU handles motion compensation etc..)

    I fully appreciate Cyberlink's need to add new features via patch, and consider it essential since the Blu-Ray standard in particular is rapidly evolving, but removing key player features that are unrelated to this is quite unacceptable IMHO.

    We are not finding that half the people on this forum can not settle on a single build of PowerDVD that meets all their requirements and does what it's supposed to.

    I've just got hold of the UK version of Fantastic Four Silver Surfer which someone told me has BD+ and I'm wondering just which PowerDVD version will actually play it when I get home and how AnyDVD will handle it.....
  3. YaniD

    YaniD Well-Known Member

    Except that I want the option to use DXVA if I wish (for intensive H.264 titles that my CPU might struggle with in software decode mode) and I don't relish installing and re-installing drivers to achieve that on a case by case basis.

    My main gripe with hardware acceleration under XP is that PowerDVD seems to split the progressive frames into fields and then weaves them back together in reverse field order: leading to fine aliasing and a blurring of detail (or at least that's what it looks like). I don't have this problem with software decoding, so it seems like a bug in the DXVA implementation.

    I now use an 8600GT, but I had a similar effect with an ATI 2400Pro, so it must be PowerDVD at fault.

    I can understand them splitting into fields as they need to accommodate 60i/30p with pulldown, but it seems like an error has crept in.

    It isn't hugely noticeable at low brightness levels, but that is probably because the resolution is so high.
  4. YaniD

    YaniD Well-Known Member

    After modifying the .XPL of the Japanese Harry Potter Order Of The Phoenix to remove all but the IME section, I can now play the main feature with IME enabled in PDVD 7.3.2911.

    I now have 2 .XPL files, one of which will play the main feature and the other the main feature with IME.

    Without the "magic file replacement" facility and AnyDVD HD, I would be unable to play this title in PDVD 7.3.2911 and have the option of software decoding or hardware acceleration. Thanks Slysoft. :)

    Also has the advantage of removing all the intro garbage, disabling subtitles and selecting the desired TrueHD soundtrack as default.

    It's still a lot of hassle though getting things setup to work correctly and I would like to know exactly what element was introduced into the authoring that refuses to work with v2911. The base video is obviously perfectly okay.
  5. mobileh264

    mobileh264 Active Member

    I'm glad you have a solution for this Harry Potter Title at least. I'll try and get hold of it and see what happens with my system.

    I've got several titles with modified xpls too, but just so I can delete special features and intros etc, not to add compatibility for particular movies.

    As to PowerDVD interlacing the progressive frames from a DVD, I've never heard that before, nor seen it on my 8500GT XP setup!

    My problem with DxVA is that it runs great for anything between 1 minute and 20 minutes, then hangs the whole PC, sometimes coming back after 10-15 seconds, sometimes bombing out PowerDVD. This is a known problem however and a thread on the AVS forum.
  6. YaniD

    YaniD Well-Known Member

    The interlacing effect is only what I see on my system: things seem to vary so much between individual setups because there is a matrix of hardware/firmware/driver'software possibilities, any one of which can introduce a difference to the output, but only for that setup.

    It makes sense though: PowerDVD has to handle 60i and 30p content as well as 24p and to mix in menus, so they would probably do this by converting everything to the lowest common denominator of 60i and then post-processing back to the desired output. The earlier Toshiba standalone HD-DVD players do this and actually require a special workaround to enable direct 24fps output. I see no reason to expect Cyberlink to do it any differently.

    Also, if you have a look at the .XPL file, the vast majority have a global timebase=60fps and tickbase=60fps. This indicates to me that the primary output is 60i (which just happens to be woven back to 30p for graphic card output).

    I actually don't have stability problems with DXVA acceleration enabled, but I can't stand the aliasing effect; so I use software decoding whenever I can to produce the best quality. This is why I must have PowerDVD v2911 playback compatibility (as it is the latest version to still permit software playback) and why modification of the .XPL is so important.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  7. mobileh264

    mobileh264 Active Member

    I see what you mean about converting to the lowest common denominator.

    Many of My HD-DVDs are 24FPS progressive. However, my tele is connected via 60Hz.

    I don't know this for a fact but I'm guessing that from what you said about Cyberlink converting do a lowest commond denominator of 60FPS, the player will convert 24FPS to 60FPS using the formula below:



    The first and second lines are the tens and units of the range 1-60 for each displayed frame.

    The line full of As and Bs shows the 24p content being applied to the output timing of 60Hz. As we can see from the 3:2 ratio above, playback will look jerky on medium speed camera pans etc.

    Similary we could say for 30p content:


    Would have a 1:1 ratio and hence look good.

    Or am I barking up the wrong tree entirely here and should I wish I never wrote this?
  8. YaniD

    YaniD Well-Known Member

    I expect you are aware that HD-DVD contains pulldown flags embedded in the data stream, similar to DVD, so the same principle applies: it is intended for playback to be at 60i/30p (even though the source is actually 24p), but possible for a player to ignore the pulldown flags (if the player is written with that functionality).

    What I think you are trying to explain is pulldown. We can think of HD-DVD as operating essentially as a more advanced form of DVD, but sharing similar general principles: it is an evolution of DVD.

    When you consider HD-DVD was released at a time when the majority of HDTVs were 60i or at best 30p, you can understand why the first standalone players were primarily 1080i. It wasn't until the advent of 24p capable HDTVs that options were introduced to enable direct 24p output. Even so, I understand that standalone players with 24p output enabled can have strange effects on menus and true 60i/30p source can look peculiar. To me this reinforces the view that HD-DVD is intended primarily as a 60i/30p format that can be forced to 24p output (with caveats). A similar situation exists I think with software DVD players which normally output 30p but have to be coerced to output 24p, even though film based DVDs are essentially 24p with pulldown flags (just like HD-DVD).

    The reason I'm explaining this is I think PowerDVD is behaving like the early software DVD players: designed primarily for 60i/30p output and having to do something special to output 24p.

    The above is only my own conjecture.

    What I haven't been able to ascertain with any certainty is whether PDVD is directly capable of outputting 24p. I can't find any IVTC options within the software that would enable this and without options what would PDVD do (probably rely on the lowest common denominator).

    Now, PDVD does have de-interlacing capability, so can convert even 60i source into 30p, but I can't see an IVTC option for 30p->24p (or even a more direct "ignore pulldown flags" option). It's possible IVTC could be handled by the graphics card drivers, but that option doesn't appear to be working in XP with my Nvidia setup and in any case is a sledgehammer approach: would be more useful and less CPU intensive for PDVD to include an "ignore pulldown flags" option.

    Maybe a future PDVD release will include the required option functionality, but at the moment I'm not convinced that it does output true 24p under XP.

    What is also interesting is that I think the WMV9 decoder also honours the pulldown flags in the HD-DVD data stream and only outputs 30p. There is no option in this decoder to ignore the pulldown flags. At best I think some consumer setups are able to utilise the IVTC capability of their graphics cards to return the 30p to 24p, but this does seem like a wasteful approach, when it would make more computational sense to simply ignore the pulldown requirement in the first place.

    Once again, maybe a future release of WMV9 codec will include an option to ignore pulldown.

    It's interesting though that WMV9 and PDVD are both apparently written without 24p decoding in mind.

    I should also add that Bluray doesn't have this issue: titles are, I believe, encoded as 24p and it is up to the player to add pulldown as required. Consequently it is easier to output 24p directly.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  9. mobileh264

    mobileh264 Active Member

    I've got an nvidia gpu too, and there is an IVTC box you can tick. It doesn't appear to make any difference on my setup for HD-DVD contents at 24fps. No idea why???

    I guess that the nvidia IVTC feature probably only works when fed with 60i content and is intended to recover the original 24p film content after it leaves the software player in 60i and enters the gpu. After the content emerges from the IVTC, it's got to be synced with the digital display device at a mutually supported timing (in my case 60 or 59 hz).

    So is your theory that cyberlink player can, or even always, outputs 60i to the gpu stacks up.

    I'm in the UK, so all our region 2 standard DVDs have either 50i or 25p. You don't need to recover the 24p film information because the film never went through TC in the first place, it was just sped up a bit from 24 to 25 in the mastering process.

    However, with the advent of HD-dvd I am seeing the UK releases all at 24p, so we seem to have gone in line with the US at last so we should be singing from the same hymn sheet regarding HD-DVD even though we have seperate releases and are not using the same discs exactly.

    Oddly enough, some UK-originating content has made it to DVD, have you seen the Planet earth documentary series? This was advertised on the back of the box as 1080i but I haven't seen it yet.